Hailing from Earth’s milder, less undead version of Northrend, Hend stays busy with a full-time job, gaming, three kids, being a husband, and co-hosting the weekly Training Dummies podcast. There’s time for little else, but that doesn’t stop him from enjoying his favorite hobby and teaching the kids a thing or two through gaming.
Location: Western Canada
Brood: Three kids— two boys, 10 (almost 11) and 8; one girl, 4 1/2
Current games: World of Warcraft, Civ V, Torchlight 2
Hobbies (gaming related or otherwise): Geocaching! People place “caches” around the world, and give you the coordinates using that website. You put them in a GPS and go find them. Sign your name on the logbook inside and leave it for the next person to find. Many contain little things to trade, which is the biggest draw for my kids.
Other stuff you’re into: TV – Lots of shows. Walking Dead, Elementary, Game of Thrones, The Blacklist, CSI, Intelligence, Almost Human, Haven, Lost Girl. (There’s more but that’s the current list I think.)
Do you have employment outside of the home?
How long have you been gaming?
Played our Atari 2600 in the 80s. It’s been so long, I have no idea how we ended up with that Atari. I don’t recall begging or asking for it, but who knows.
How did you get into gaming?
That good ol’ Atari!
What was your first game?
Not sure on the first but it would have been on the Atari. Seaquest was the one I was best at; just not sure if it was first. Though, I suppose Pong could have been first. Or something similar, as I remember one of my uncles had a Coleco that I played a little before we got the Atari.
Gaming and the Family
Who games in your household?
Everyone, including the youngest.
Will/Do you seek out games you can play together?
Yes. I play Torchlight 2 and Age of Empires 2 with my boys. They also both have active WoW subs, but don’t play that as much.
Are there things you (want to) do in your current games with your kid?
Just have fun.
Does it ever get competitive between your kids?
Yes it does. Age of Empires, specifically. At times, they’ll team up to try to take me down, and have on occasion, but I also rub it in a bit when I beat them as well.
Any disputes ever break out? (Who gets to play what character, which role, etc.) If they do, how do you help them (or how do they help themselves) settle the disputes?
Playing together, we don’t normally settle on roles. I’m a big fan of “play what you want.” Disputes are usually one kid telling the other what to play, but the way I settle it is, “He can play what he wants.”
Where do you personally draw the line between “Games for Mom/Dad” and “Games for everyone?”
Excessive violence/sexual content. GTA is 100% off limits, but I allow them to play Halo and Skyrim even though they have “M” ratings.
What makes the latter two okay (even though they can get pretty bloody/gory) while GTA is 100% “No?”
Halo/Skyrim are clearly fantasy settings. GTA is not. In addition, I’ve heard of some of the very “adult” situations you can get into in GTA. I have never played it personally, and have no desire to either. I’ll take internet dragons over that any day.
With your wife as a fellow gamer, do you both decide what the kids can/cannot play? Any discussions before purchasing? How do you go about those discussions if you have them?
We usually agree. Nothing with an “M” rating except for some rare exceptions. If one of us does disagree, a quick discussion as to why usually has both of us in agreement.
Will there be games that are *just* for the kid?
Yes. Bought them a few Steam games that I have no interest in but I know they enjoy. Terraria comes to mind.
What about it makes Terraria great for kids but isn’t something you’d want to play?
I don’t know what they find so appealing, but from what I’ve seen, I’d rather play WoW or Civ5 etc. With limited game time, I find it difficult to play other games than those two.
What are the rules you lay down— or will lay down— for gaming to the kids? They do need to earn their time, but it’s more that they can lose it for fighting with each other (they’re boys ;))—misbehaving, wrestling in the house,etc. I also do not allow them to browse the internet for internet games anymore. To combat that, I got them each quite a few steam games at Christmas, and a few since then even, which has worked. And they have enough variety that they’re not searching for more when they do get computer time without me.
Do you try to make gaming educational even if it’s not a “for kids” or “educational” game? Or do you try to keep gaming strictly as entertainment, fun, and for relaxing? (Not that learning can’t be fun, entertaining, or relaxing, but you know as well as I do that sometimes you just want to smash pixels and not have to think about it.)
They do have 1 or 2 educational games but mainly it’s just fun.
Do you think it’s important to keep fun stuff, like gaming, “just for fun?” A method of relaxing, getting away from real life after having to be in school, do chores, etc?
If I could get paid for playing games, I’d be all for it! Seriously, though, games shouldn’t be a chore. I know WoW can be grindy at times and feel like a job, but if it’s losing its fun, then it might be time to stop.
Being a Gamer Parent
Do the non-gamers in your life confront you about “still being a gamer” after, or even before, you became a parent?
No. My wife plays Warcraft as well, and our friends even know that if they invite us somewhere on Friday, we’ll probably decline because it’s “Raid night.”
Consequently, do you ever feel like you have to hide your gamer pride when you’re with your kid or doing “adult things” (e.g. groceries, etc)?
Do you sense any scrutiny, resistance, etc from others simply because you’re a gamer parent? (E.g. Do you get weird looks if you’re at the store wearing a Horde/Alliance shirt with your kid in tow?)
No, because I don’t have one— but I need to get one.
Has gaming affected your parenting at all, or vice versa? Do you sometimes feel like some instances with your kid/baby are raid/BG deja vu?
Gaming gives me something else I can do with my kids that they enjoy as well.
How has becoming a parent affected your gaming? Do you game less? More often? Only at specified times?
I certainly games less than when we had no kids. There were weekends where my wife and I would spend all day playing Dark Age of Camelot. Now, gaming with the kids is on the weekends for a couple hours and my personal gaming is after they go to bed in the evenings (and after my wife goes to bed too). Our raid team is once a week, as that is all my wife and I can commit to. Start time is 9pm which is when the kids go to bed on the weekends.